Ian Brown - Norwich UEA - 2/3/02

30 Jan 2004

former 'roses monkey-man does anuva uk jaunt.
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Ian Brown

'... And I'm Ian. You know me, or at least you think you do. You call me King Monkey. But I'm more like a lion.' So ends the line-up introduction.

An evening spent in the company of Mr. Ian Brown is never dull. The demented aerobics-style dancing, the delightful audience interaction ('Who's on ecstasy then? How much did it cost you?'), the unabashed self-adulation; Ian Brown is truly a legend - and how well he knows it.

The man who recently acquired the 'NME' readers' solo artist of the year award is basking, incredibly, in the same iconic glory as he was in 1989. Here he is in 2002, however, with Aziz Ibrahim alongside him, still exuding the mystical narcissism that made the Stone Roses one of the most important UK bands of all time.

A lot of the audience present tonight look old enough to remember the magic of the Roses in their original form, but I - a mere five years old at the time of release of their eponymous first LP - never experienced it first hand. Nevertheless, when the final twenty seconds of 'Love Like A Fountain' transforms into 'Fools Gold', I am provided with a brief, blissful glimpse into another musical world.

Brown's set may last little over an hour, but that's partly due to the fact that there's no filler; after all, the quality of his post-Roses output has remained consistently high. Particularly memorable are the singles, however: 'Dolphins were Monkeys', 'F.E.A.R.' and, to finish off proceedings, a mesmerizing version of 'My Star'.

From the clues revealed here at Norwich this evening, the king of the jungle certainly isn't in danger of losing his throne any time soon.

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